Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA's X-43A Vehicle Ready For Flight

Date:
March 26, 2004
Source:
NASA/Langley Research Center
Summary:
NASA has set Saturday, March 27 for the flight of the experimental X-43A research vehicle. The flight is part of the Hyper-X program, a research effort to demonstrate alternate propulsion technologies for access to space and high-speed flight within the atmosphere.

X-43A vehicle in flight
Credit: Image courtesy NASA/Langley Research Center

NASA has set Saturday, March 27 for the flight of the experimental X-43A research vehicle. The flight is part of the Hyper-X program, a research effort to demonstrate alternate propulsion technologies for access to space and high-speed flight within the atmosphere.

The flight will provide unique free flight data about hypersonic (faster than Mach 5) air-breathing engine technologies that have large potential pay-offs. The unpiloted 12-foot-long vehicle, part aircraft and part spacecraft, will be dropped from a B-52,aircraft. It will be boosted to nearly 100,000 feet by a rocket and released over the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Sea Range over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of southern Calif. It will fly under its own power at approximately 5,000 mph.

The $250 million program began with conceptual design and scramjet engine wind tunnel work in 1996. This is the first time a non-rocket, air-breathing scramjet engine has powered a vehicle in flight at hypersonic speeds. No vehicle has ever flown at hypersonic speeds powered by an air-breathing scramjet engine.

In a scramjet (supersonic-combustion ramjet), the flow of air through the engine remains supersonic for optimum engine efficiency and vehicle speed. The rocket boost and subsequent separation from the rocket to get to the scramjet test condition have complex elements that must work properly for mission success. There are few or no moving parts. Achieving proper ignition and combustion, in a matter of milliseconds, proved to be an engineering challenge, but NASA is ready to prove air-breathing scramjets work.

After booster burnout, the 2,800-pound, wedge-shaped research vehicle will separate and fly on its own to perform a preprogrammed set of tasks. After an approximate 10 second test firing of the engine, the X-43A will glide through the atmosphere conducting a series of aerodynamic maneuvers for up to six minutes on its way to splashdown.

Researchers believe these technologies may someday offer more airplane-like operations and other benefits compared to traditional rocket systems. Rockets provide limited throttle control and must carry heavy tanks filled with liquid oxygen, necessary for combustion of fuel. An air breathing engine, like on the X-43A, scoops oxygen from the air as it flies. The weight savings could be used to increase payload capacity, increase range or reduce vehicle size for the same payload.

This is the second flight in the X-43A project. On June 2, 2001, the first X-43A vehicle was lost moments after release from the B-52. Following booster ignition, the vehicle deviated from its flight path and was deliberately destroyed. The mishap investigation concluded there was no single contributing factor, but the root cause of the problem was identified as the control system of the booster.

NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., and Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., jointly conduct the Hyper-X program.

A video clip, images and additional information about the project are available on the Internet at:

http://www.nasa.gov/missions/research/x43-main.html

NASA TV will carry the flight and the post-flight news briefing live. NASA TV is available on AMC-9, transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 85 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz. For information about NASA TV on the Internet, visit:

http://www.NASA.gov/ntv


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Langley Research Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Langley Research Center. "NASA's X-43A Vehicle Ready For Flight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040325072053.htm>.
NASA/Langley Research Center. (2004, March 26). NASA's X-43A Vehicle Ready For Flight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040325072053.htm
NASA/Langley Research Center. "NASA's X-43A Vehicle Ready For Flight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040325072053.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Billions of dollars are being spent on a massive super sewer to take away London's vast output of waste, which is endangering the River Thames. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins